3PAR storage class memory Intel Optane

Discover Storage News Wrap Up

Last week at HPE Discover there was a series of storage announcements for the 3PAR and Nimble platform plus more. In this post we will run through the announcements.

Storage Class Memory

3PAR storage class memory Intel Optane

Storage class memory has been announced for 3PAR and Nimble. Storage Class Memory memory (SCM) was intended to bridge the gap between DRAM and NAND flash found in current generation SSD’s. DRAM is fast memory but does not scale and is expensive, NAND flash does scale but does not deliver the same performance. Intel have developed their Optane product which sits in this middle ground of performance and cost between SSD and NAND flash.

The Intel Optane device will be NVMe connected and act as an extension to the onboard controller cache. Other vendors such as Pure have added NVMe drives into the system but HPE have focused on adding the NVMe storage within the controller as they believe that the key bottleneck in flash systems is at the controller level and not disk. The additional cache creates quicker response times and also reduces the  load on back end disks as the amount of IO served served here is reduced. Phillip Sellers has written an in-depth piece looking at the addition of SCM to Nimble and 3PAR.

InfoSight

There was a number of announcements around the InfoSight platform.  First up was 3PAR performance insights which allows a performance view of not only your storage but also the VMware layer. We’ve discussed this in detail previously including how to implement it, but in short this is free for customers and allows deep insights into your VMware environment such as being able to find VMs with the highest resource utilisation.

The Nimble storage platform also benefited from a couple of InfoSight enhancements. Nimble Resource planner allows load modelling. As a storage admin I really like the sound of this as so often we don’t know what the impact of an additional workload will be until it’s deployed. The modelling software predicts the impact both in terms of performance and capacity, below is an example of running through this

Choosing workload to model

Nimble resource planner1

Impact on capacity is modelled 

Nimble resource planner 2

Also modelled is the impact on CPU and cache

Nimble resource planner 4

Nimble cross stack analytics brings enhancements to the performance recommendations already delivered by InfoSight. The focus of this new feature is bring specific AI driven recommendations to the environment. An example of the type of recommendation is shown in the screenshot below

Nimble cross stack analytics

The InfoSight product is still owned by the storage segment of HPE but its expansion into other products is continuing at a pace. One of HPE’s key objective is to deliver a cloud like experience and make things consumable as services. InfoSight is a key part of this strategy ensuring uptime and proactive recommendations to the environment to eliminate issues before they occur.

You can see a summary of the InfoSight announcements in this chalk talk

Nimble Peer Persistence

Synchronous replication was added as a feature to the Nimble storage platform. The feature is being called Peer Persistence since HPE are also introducing support for metro clusters at the same time. I have covered Peer Persistence in-depth previously for 3PAR, it essentially allows for the creation of stretched cluster across geographically separate data centres. The Nimble implementation of Peer Persistence will initially support metro clusters for SQL and VMware.

Cloud Volumes Enhancements

Nimble Cloud Volumes were announced a couple of years ago. These cloud volumes offer block storage with the maturity and depth of services you would expect to see on premise for cloud. Announced this time round was the support of containerized workloads using both Docker and Kubernetes.  Also announced was extended regional support so cloud volumes will be available for the UK and Ireland in 2019.

Cohesity

HPE have also enhanced their relationship with secondary data platform Cohesity. Cohesity is available bundled with Proliant Gen10 servers through HPE partners.  These validated Cohesity and HPE bundles have added support for HPE Apollo and HPE DL380 servers

You can see a further summary of announcements in this blog post from Calvin Zito

 

3PAR Saturation

3PAR SSMC 3.4 – What’s New ?

HPE have just released SSMC 3.4, it looks like a small update, but it brings a big change and many new features. Therefore, I would say the right Version should be 4.0.

This guest post is brought to you by Armin Kerl, if you fancy trying you hand at blogging check out our guest posting opportunities.

What’s New in SSMC 3.4?

The key new features in SSMC are:

  • Appliance Deployment – Now a Linux based appliance VM
  • New Setup Sizing Guidelines – Small, large or medium deployments available depending on the number of 3PAR systems you are managing
  • InfoSight Integration – Tighter integration with InfoSight
  • Performance Analytics – Includes simplified reporting indicating if system is overstretched or performing well
  • Replication – Enhancements to management

Let us get a deeper look at the new features:

Download SSMC

To get the latest 3.4 version of SSMC you can download it from the HPE Software Depot. Once downloaded you will find an ISO with the name format HPESSMC-.iso. When you mount the ISO you will find the appliance image file in there HPE_SSMC__VMware_Image plus the migration tool (HPE_SSMC__Migration_Tool) which will allow you to migrate your current settings to the new appliance.

SSMC Appliance

In the Past, we installed the SSMC as a service on an existing Windows or Linux Host, now it is a standalone Linux based appliance. Today supported operating systems to run the appliance on are VMware ESXi version 6.0, 6.5, 6.7 or Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 or 2016. The 3PAR OS can be 3.2.1, 3.2.2 or 3.3.1.

SSMC Deployment

During the Deployment you can choose the initial settings like IP address and you can choose between three Sizing Options:

SSMC 3.4 Deployment

Small

Use the Small deployment option to manage up to 8 arrays and 128K objects. This deployment needs 4 vCPUs, 16GB memory and min 500GB Disk Space.

Medium

With the Medium deployment option, you can manage up to 16 arrays and 256K objects. This deployment needs 8 vCPUs and 32GB memory and min 500GB Disk Space.

Large

The large deployment option allows management of up to 32 arrays and 500K objects. This deployment needs 16 vCPUs and 32GB memory and min 500GB Disk Space.

SSMC Migration

If you are already running SSMC 3.2 or 3.3, you can use the migration tool contained in the SSMC ISO, install it on the same host where the older SSMC is installed and migrate the configuration to the new appliance.

The Text-based User Interface (TUI)

Once the SSMC appliance has been deployed using the initial setup wizard you make any further configuration changes through the The Text-based User Interface (TUI).  To access the TUI you will open the console of the SSMC appliance and logon with the username ssmcadmin.  You can find the password for the ssmcadmin account on page 55 of the Admin Guide.

The Text-based User Interface (TUI) used to manage SSMC appliance

InfoSight Integration

If configured, The SSMC is now able to pull information from HPE InfoSight back into the SSMC Console.This brings you advanced system performance and reporting analytics into The SSMC. You have to enable it in SSMC “Global Settings > Application” and enable InfoSight, as described in a previously in  Configuring 3PAR with InfoSight.

SSMC Global Settings

Performance Analytics

In the past, we were able to get a lot of Performance Information from 3PAR Storage – how many IOPS, MB/s, latency, for disks, volumes, groups, HBA etc. but you needed specialist skills to interpret the values. A common question was are these performance values good or bad.

Now InfoSight and SSMC calculate saturation levels and headroom availability with respect to throughput and shows it on easy to interpret graphs. This can be done in Real-time, because analytics from InfoSight are now built inside SSMC. New Statistical models detect hotspots, saturation and a lot more. Thanks to the connection with InfoSight, it is also showing “How is my 3PAR performing against other similar Systems in the whole World”.

To see this, add the new Panels to your Dashboard or use the new Dropdown Menu “Analytics” on the System Page.

3PAR Saturation

There is also a new “Advanced Analytics” category in the System Reporter.

SSMC 3.4 Advanced Analytics

Initially all the analytics features will only work with all-flash (SSD only) arrays.

Replication

There are also some enhancement for Synchronous Data & File Persona Replication Configuration and management.

SSMC Documentation

The following new manuals are available for SSMC 3.4

Admin Guide

Release Notes

User Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing infsight VM details option in 3PAR

Configuring 3PAR with InfoSight

HPE previously announced the availability of HPE InfoSight for 3PAR. This guest post by Armin Kerl runs through the process of setting up 3PAR Cross-stack Analytics for VMware. This allows a number of insights into the performance of VM’s held on the storage.

HPE 3PAR InfoSight PERQUISITES

Hello 3PAR Guys, today I will show you how to enable VMware integration in HPE InfoSight. Before you register your system in InfoSight you need the following prerequisites in place:

  • 3PAR Call Home enabled, as I describe here
  • An active support contract is in place, which you can verify with the HPE Warranty Checker
  • Additionally if you wish use Cross-stack Analytics for VMware  the following requirements apply:
    • Minimum 3PAR OS 3.2.2 MU4 minimum with Service Processor version 4.4 MU7 or later
    • 3PAR OS 3.3.1 with Service Processor 5.0 MU3 or later
    • 3PAR Service Processor must be configured to use the RDA Transport Agent (SSA is not supported)
    • VMware vCenter versions 5.5, 6.0 or 6.5

High-level setup steps

If the above requirements are in place you will then be able to complete the following high level steps to get InfoSight with cross-stack analytics.

  1. Register the system with InfoSight
  2. Configure VMware integration in the Service Processor
  3. Ensure that the RDA transport mode is used for the Service Processor

We will run through these steps in the next sections:

Registering system with InfoSight

  • Logon to InfoSight with your HPE passport ID
  • Click on the HPE 3PAR StoreServ / StoreOnce Register Systems link on the Welcome Page (Settings > Register Systems). It’s easiest if you create
  • You will then choose a system group you want to assign the device to.  This allows you to group all your organisations devices
  • You will then be presented with a System Group Registration Token to copy and paste onto each 3PAR to perform registration.  You will see a full set of instructions on how to do this, with the choice of doing this via CLI, SSMC and IMC.

Integrating the 3PAR Service Processor with vCentre

The exact steps you need to take will depend on the version of the Service Processor you are running. First we look at doing this with service processor 5.0.3

vCentre integration Service Processor 5.0.3

1 Once you are logged into your Service Processor you can see the firmware version of the service processor like in the screenshot below

503 error

2 Now go to Systems from the main menu

3 From the Actions Menu chose Edit System

3 Choose VMware integration

Adding vCentredetails to ServiceProcessor

4 Choose Add vCenter. Enter IP address, password and other relevant information for your vCenter. The account supplied needs to have read only access to the vCentre

Adding vCenterto infosight

vCentre integration Service Processor 4.x

  • Login to SPOCC
  • Select SPmaint from the Main Menu and choose Option 3 “StoreServ Configuration Management”
  • Choose “Add StoreServ” then “Add vCenter”
  • Supply the required information and click add. The account supplied needs to have read only access to the vCentre

RDA transport mode

If you got this Message:

RDA Message

Than the RDA Transport Protocol is not active, and the SP uses the old SSA transfer agent. This happens mostly, if you have updated the Service Processor from 4.4 to 5.0. To solve this:

Logon to the Service Processor with the “hpepartner” Account and go to “Edit SP configuration”.

Service Processor EditNow under Support change from SSA to RDA Transport Agent.

Check if Call Home Transfer is still working, it may be the RDA needs different firewall exceptions on your site.

Note that Service Processor 4.x releases require HPE Support to modify the configuration from Secure Service Agent (SSA) to Remote Device Access (RDA).

Checking Infosight is integrating with vCentre

The setup steps are now complete we can now check everything is working as expected.

In Activity, we see now VM Collections running.

3PAR activity log

To be able to view the collected stats we need to wait 2-4 hours then log onto InfoSight and click “VM Details”:

Choosing infsight VM details option in 3PAR

 

Now you get lots of VM to Storage related information:

Example 3PAR INfoSight Repor2t

 

Example 3PAR INfoSight Report

For further information on the setup process look at the HPE Infosight For 3PAR Quickstart Guide v1.4

In this previous post available you can see more examples other reports InfoSight will make available. That is all the steps you need to configure 3PAR with InfoSight.

Thanks to the HPE InfoSight team for reaching out with additional information to support this post.